Below are ways we can connect with the Lord in prayer as we seek to grow in intimacy with Him. These include devotional prayer, intercessory prayer, pray-reading God’s Word, and praying in the Spirit. Each has its place in living a lifestyle of prayer.
1. Devotional Prayer
Devotional prayer focuses on our own spiritual growth, needs and refreshing. In simplest terms, it is engaging God in conversation about our relationship with Him and growing in Christlike character and actions.
Adoring worship–loving on the Lord and giving thanks to Him–is included here. Do not hurry through these moments with the Lord, but pause often in the conversation to allow Him to respond.
Devotional Prayer Example
“Thank You, Father, for Your love for me as Your child. Show me more about how You feel about me as Your son/daughter. Remind me of the truth that I can cry out, “Abba” and come to You without fear.”
2. Intercessory Prayer
Intercession is about standing in the gap for another person, situation, group or issue. This could be for a family member, the government, a specific people group or an organization. It also includes topics and issues of our day such as racism, abortion, injustice, human trafficking and more.
Intercession involves partnering with God in prayer, asking Him to come into lives and into situations to bring forth His purposes and desires. It also includes asking Him to release His power and strength to them.
Our number one priority in intercessory prayer is to first ask God what He would have us pray, using His Word and the leading of His Spirit as our foundation. We want to pray His will and not our own agenda or opinions. Read more about intercessory prayer.
3. Pray-Reading God’s Word
“Pray-reading” the Word refers to praying God’s Word over ourselves. This type of Bible reading is for quality not quantity, with the goal to connect with God relationally versus gaining head knowledge.
How to Pray-Read the Word
First choose a verse. For example, using Isaiah 26:3:
“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” (HCSB)
Lord, thank You for this promise. Strengthen me to trust in You and lean on You in full dependence. In You alone can I trust. On only You can I depend, for You are always faithful. Thank You for Your faithfulness!
You can do this as you read through the entire Bible or a specific book; I suggest starting with the New Testament or Psalms. To pray-read in this way, read slowly without pressuring yourself to accomplish a certain amount of reading. Pause on a verse you sense the Lord highlighting or that stirs your heart.
4. Praying and Singing in the Spirit
If you have a prayer language (tongues), praying and singing in the Spirit in our personal times of prayer helps strengthen and refresh us. This spiritual discipline encourages us, building us up in God’s love. At times, we may sense God leading us in this, as a sort of bubbling up from within.
Praying in the Spirit allows the Holy Spirit to pray through us. Through this we receive the mind of the Spirit, though we may not know it instantly. When you do not know how to pray, pray in the Spirit.
Even our seeming groaning at injustice or the lost state of a loved one when we simply don’t have the words is prayer. We can then trust God’s Spirit to lead us as we intercede. Romans 8:26-27 states,
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (NKJV)